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Extending Care Across Accra

1 April 2020


During a recent visit to Ghana, we met P.W. Inspector Ellen Manu, a nurse working at the Ghana Police Hospital who shared her experience of caring for patients and the sense of satisfaction she gains from being a nurse.

My name is P.W. Inspector Ellen Manu. I work at the Police Hospital, it was mainly built for police officers, their wives and children but now we have extended our care so that everybody can access healthcare at the hospital. After undergoing my training, I began working at this hospital and also entered the police force as a health professional.

At the hospital, we have all of the units that are needed to ensure the wellbeing of police officers and all other patients who access healthcare here. We have maternity, obstetrics and gynaecology, and children’s department, plus an ICU and surgical and medical wards. We also have an OPD for emergencies that we triage and then send to the wards, a psychiatric unit, dialysis, and public health units. I worked at the maternity ward for four years before transferring to the children’s ward. My job is to care for the children, especially children that are brought here with congenital abnormalities or babies that are brought to the special care unit, for example babies that are delivered by mothers with diabetes, hypertension or HIV. We care for them until they are well and then we discharge them. We also receive children with special conditions, such as sickle cell disease, anaemia, asthma – we see all sorts of cases. It is a very, very busy hospital. On a normal day we can see 50 admissions at peak times.

On a typical morning shift, we take over from the night nurse and deal with emergency cases. We often have to resuscitate patients, give them the first line of treatment, call the doctor immediately and then admit them to the ward. We also take care of the changes that were made to each patient’s treatment, the drugs that were added and then we deal with those who are being discharged. After the ward round, we attend to dressings; we normally see babies with burns. Occasionally we have children being rushed in from the shelter or from the streets who are facing neglect or abuse. The admissions continue throughout the day, and we send for the doctor and administer treatments.

I had the passion to work as a nurse to care for people. I get satisfaction when I see my patients well. Especially when a pregnant woman has delivered, and the child is well, and the mother is well. I see children who are ill, we help them to recuperate and then they become well – it gives me that job satisfaction.

The main health challenges that people face in this area has to do with education; they don’t know what food to give their children, what medicine and food to consume during pregnancy and what not to consume, how to care for their children effectively in terms of their health. Also, poverty is a challenge, sometimes people have the knowledge but not the means to come to hospital or the means to provide for their children.

A specific barrier facing patients is money. However, the Police Hospital is not as expensive as other private or even public hospitals. Even for the children’s ward, the bill is very moderate. With insurance, a person can stay for around three days, we give them food three times a day – so it’s very moderate and accessible.

The most challenging thing about my job is cooperation. Sometimes you diagnose a child and the parents do not want to accept that diagnosis, especially when it is sickle cell disease, so the cooperation is minimal. However, if the parents accept the diagnosis and attend the monthly sickle cell clinic and the child takes their medication routinely, they become well.

The best thing about my job is making my patients well without any complications. I also love to help educate. I believe that if people are given the right information, we can equip them so that they do not fall sick and so that their children do not develop complications, this is the best advice that we can give.

"I love to help educate. I believe that if people are given the right information, we can equip them so that they do not fall sick and so that their children do not develop complications."

P.W. Inspector Ellen Manu - Nurse, Ghana Police Hospital

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